Good ground forecast for this evening’s Southwell card with the racecourse executive watering to maintain perfect summer jumping ground.
In the opening 2m handicap chase a market move for Court Jurado would be worth noting. This lightly-raced six-year-old is still a maiden under rules, but did win his sole point in his native Ireland and he shaped with promise on his chase debut last month when he failed to get home having raced too freely.
There is the possibility that Secret Melody (4.20) may prefer to go right-handed but you couldn’t describe him as lucky in recent starts, having blundered at the last, when holding the lead at Bangor-on-Dee on his penultimate start before crashing out three out at Market Rasen when still in with every chance. The 4/1 with Boylesports looks fair for a horse who deserves a change of luck.
In the 2m 4f handicap chase Demon D’Aunou looks sure to have his supporters as he bids to follow up his recent Cartmel success for which he carries a 7lbs penalty. That was his first start over the larger obstacles, and it looks as if chasing is going to be his game. Blue N Yellow is entitled to come on for his reappearance here three weeks ago, but once again his finishing effort was tame having travelled well to three out.
The vote, however, goes to Thibault (5.30) who looked to be crying out for a step up in trip when runner up here on his chase debut over the minimum distance. Kim Bailey fits his 7-y-old – 9/4 with bet365 – with a first-time tongue tie today and a 2lbs rise for his seasonal reappearance looks fair.
In the second division of the 10f maiden at Lingfield John Locke looks sure to be all the rage having finished runner up at Windsor on debut for Ralph Beckett. He is entitled to come on for that run, but this big son of Mastercraftsman is overlooked in favour of Systemic (7.15) who was not knocked about when fourth at Doncaster in a better race than today’s on his debut last month. James Doyle takes over in the saddle for Hugo Palmer. He gets the ew vote.
Old Friend (7.45) has been a beaten favourite in his first couple of handicaps but improved for the step up to 12f when third – beaten half-a-length – at Windsor last week. He returns to polytrack this evening and has been backed from 5/2 into 13/8 with bet365. Oisin Murphy has been in the saddle for his last couple of starts and the champion jockey keeps the ride this evening.
Over at Beverley I feel Ventura Rascal (3.30) remains well handicapped despite a 4lbs rise for his recent Catterick success when he was drawn wide and was forced to cover ground. Kevin Stott takes over in the saddle this afternoon and the selection is well drawn in stall two. The selection is as short as 6/5 in places but a best priced 2/1 at bet365.
I thought Bottom Bay (4.00) won with plenty in hand over C&D here 11 days ago and a 5lbs rise may not prevent Michael Bell’s three-year-old following up. The selection has only had five career starts and has never finished out of the first four. Cieren Fallon again takes the ride and his 3lbs claim is an obvious plus. The selection is 9/4 from 5/2 at William Hill.